The Black-Out Book
ISBN: 978 1 84603 923 2
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
Review Date: 3 Mar 2010
Full Title: The Black-Out Book: 500 Family Games and Puzzles for Wartime Entertainment
Loyal readers of WW2DB know that I like to read something different every so many books. But this one would represent a brand new departure than some of the titles I had taken on previously for the purpose of change: How about a compilation of puzzles, trivia, activities, and other fun tidbits?
As major cities in Britain were threatened, and later faced, direct attacks by enemy aircraft, the British government immediately issued the black out order at the start of the European War. The black out restricted light generated during night time, aiming to make target identification and general navigation more difficult for enemy pilots. As it became difficult for pedestrians to maneuver through the unlit streets, families stayed home after sundown. This soon became difficult for some families with younger children, as children's boredom grew harder to relieve. Books such as The Black-Out Book compiled by husband and wife team Muriel and Sydney Box, written under the pen name Evelyn August, soon became popular titles as people continuously searched for ways to keep their family, both adults and children, entertained. Reprinted in our day for our enjoyment, while it has little to no value in military history, it provides one of those rare glimpses into the everyday lives of those who experienced the war from the home front. What kind of games did the children enjoy? What kind of advice were adults looking for to deal with the rationing? What kind the quotes do people read for sources of inspiration? Answers to some of those questions, and perhaps many others, could be found in this compilation.
As I flipped through The Black-Out Book with amusement, I still could not help it but ask myself how many war time children kept themselves occupied with the very same puzzles and games that I had just read? How many parents, while reading the limericks from this book to their children, used this book to get away from missing their loved ones on the front lines or to take their minds off of the possibility that German bombers might arrive over their cities that night?
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